Return of the mooing mowers!

A shaggy highland cow with long horns standing in a field

Tue 27 Oct 2020

The cows have come home to Derby Parks this autumn as part of our long term efforts to increase biodiversity in our magnificent meadows.

Two Highland and four Belted Galloway cows are currently grazing Nutwood LNR (Local Nature Reserve) in Darley Abbey with more to join them over the coming weeks. In total there will be up to 12. They should be grazing the reserve for around two months or until their job is done, i.e. they’ve munched all of the grass!

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust are custodians of the cattle and are big advocates of the conservation grazing process. The Wildlife Trust have a farm near Shipley Park where they keep the cattle, and transport them to Derby in trailers when the conservation grazing season begins. The cows naturally ensure long grasses and small trees are controlled through low-intensity grazing and therefore more delicate wildflowers are given the chance to thrive. Interestingly, Nutwood supports five different species of orchid which are the most delicate of plants.

Since the start of the annual grazing in 2016, the beautiful beasts have become local celebrities and parks staff have overheard families saying, “It’s the new Oink.” Oink was the famous water buffalo that grazed next to Darley Mills some time ago. More recently staff have spoken to parents of excited children who insist on visiting the cows daily to say ‘hello’.

There will be further mooovements up to Allestree Park LNR and Sinfin Moor Park LNR later in the year.

The project is grateful to the many volunteer stock checkers daily visiting each site to ensure the animals are in good health.

Pictures by David Winslow.